DEAR MISS MANNERS: My lesbian partner of 26 years and I will be helping our straight daughter with her wedding plans. We are out to our immediate family and friends, as well as the groom's immediate family. Our daughter is NOT asking her father to walk her down the aisle, but wants her mother to do so.
My questions are:
1. If Mom walks our daughter down the aisle, how should I as Mom No. 2 enter with the wedding party?
2. How should the invitations be worded to indicate that both of us, as well as the groom's parents (both his mom and dad have remarried after their divorce) are announcing the wedding of our respective children?
The bride and groom have no particular religious convictions, so the ceremony can be a bit unconventional and without pretense. We are, however, hoping to maintain as much of the traditional wedding etiquette as possible.
GENTLE READER: Then you will have to accept Miss Manners' definition of traditional. That is to regard wedding etiquette as a basis for symbolizing the families involved as they actually exist, and not to try to jam them into roles that may not fit.
Giving away a bride is already an anachronism, retained for its charm. People who are fixed on the idea that this task must be performed by a gentleman, and who hunt up a remote one in the absence of a father or stepfather, render it meaningless. The point is that it should be one or more parents, or someone such as a stepparent or guardian who has served as such.
How you assigned yourself to be "Mom No. 2" in this regard you do not say, but if you feel that the other mother alone should give your daughter away, then you should enter last as hostess, and sit up front. But it might also be fitting for you both to give away the bride.
Invitations are usually issued by the bride's family alone because they traditionally acted as sole hosts. But if all of you parents are giving the wedding, all of your formal names with honorifics should appear at the top of the invitation, beginning with the parents of the bride, and using as many lines as it takes to request the pleasure of your guests' company at the marriage of your respective children.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I would like to give a baby shower for a friend's daughter who lives 12 hours away. The daughter will not be traveling to my home area prior to the birth of the baby. Can I give a shower with gifts (along with a small book of good wishes) to be shipped to the mother-to-be?
GENTLE READER: You can shower your friend's daughter with however many presents you care to buy and send her, and Miss Manners finds it charming of you to think of doing so. What you cannot properly do is issue instructions to others to do the same. Presents are merely a feature of such parties, not the entire point of them, shocked as many will be to learn this.